Present, future titans clash in Prix René Ballière, Albert Viel

22 June 2024

Idao De Tillard

La Journée des Champions perfectly sums up the show Vincennes is putting on this Sunday, five of the nine races carrying Gr.1 status. Three of these comprise the finals of L’Etrier d’Or, a series dedicated to the leading 3, 4 and 5 year-old monté horses in the country (see related article here), while the remaining two are dedicated to the harness code. The best 3 year-old colts and fillies cross swords in the 2700m Prix Albert Viel, while older generations fight it out in the prestigious, 2100m Prix René Ballière.

It was David Thomain reining the Jean-Luc Dersoir-trained Hokkaido Jiel who prevailed 12 months ago in a superb time of 1’09”1, but chances of a 22/1 winner this year seem distant, given the presence of the latest Prix d’Amérique winner, Idao De Tillard, and Elitlopp champion, Horsy Dream.

The former, ideally-positioned on the front line, has been almost unbeatable over 2100m and Clément Duvaldestin will be out to make up for his Solvalla misfortune. Winner of the big event later that afternoon, Horsy Dream is in the form of his life and will be no soft touch. Potential spoilers include a rejuvenated Izoard Védaquais, and title-defender, Hokkaido Jiel. Others of interest include Ganay De BanvilleVivid Wise AsElvis Du Vallon, and Inmarosa.

The Prix Albert Viel has been the domain of Philippe Allaire who has won the race no fewer than 8 times, and this year, in a bid to make it five-in-a-row, he sends out Luciano Menuet who sports 4 pads for the first time. It will be no easy task though in the face of Liza Josselyn, a filly her trainer describes as the best he has every bred. Both Lucky Jackson and Lombok Jiel beat Allaire’s colt in the Gr.2 Prix Kalmia and will be sent out at prices in single figures. Lovino Bello and Louisiane de Bomo must also be taken seriously.

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